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It’s widely accepted that workplace efficiency is key to any successful business practice and it’s no secret that efficiency stems from motivation.


But the issue is:

How do we create motivation in the workplace?

Or more so,

How do we maintain motivation over long standing periods of time?

A large majority of business owners and managers place emphasis on extrinsic motivators such as bonuses, promotions and evaluations to create motivation. There is no doubt these have their benefits as short-term motivators however what is often disregarded is the value of intrinsic motivation.

Intrinsic motivation recognises the inherent human tendency to want to learn, grow, master our environments and integrate new experiences into who we are which is consistent with Edward Deci and Richard Ryan’s theory of human psychology known as “self-determination theory” (SDT).

This theory poses that a ‘self-determining workplace environment’ is one that fosters competency, autonomy and relatedness.

  1. Competency

According to Deci and Ryan, people need to feel a sense of competency in what they are doing in order to feel motivated towards it. So in terms of a workplace environment, managers need to make sure their workers are well-trained in their job and feel confident in what they are doing. They also need to maintain clear and obtainable goals.

  1. Autonomy

Creating an autonomous work environment means allowing a degree of creativity and freedom of expression. This could be in terms of management style, and methods of working.

Some of the most successful businesses such as Google and PWC epitomise autonomous environments, allowing employee’s freedom to dress however they would like and to reach their set goals in their preferred ways.

  1. Relatedness

Relatedness refers to an environment which fosters positive relationships and communication between its members. Positive relationships unify members to feel more a part of a team and create greater motivation towards the brand/company they work for. A number of studies have found that positive relationships = happy workers and that happiness has strong ties with productivity.

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